New virtual training simulator will enhance police training for Amarillo officers

Here’s how the new training system will benefit officers and the community.

VIDEO: Amarillo Police Department will soon receive new training simulator

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - The Amarillo Police Department will soon be receiving a new training simulator that allows officers to practice critical decision-making skills with realistic scenarios.

Assistant Chief Jimmy Johnson says currently they have limited scenario options, so this will give more options for officers to practice with.

“We don’t have anything like it. But we were able to show them just how much this will enhance our training. You’ve seen over the last couple years in police work, the big push for decision making type training and de-escalation type training and this will allow us to enhance that training that were already doing in those areas,” said Jimmy Johnson, assistant chief at The Amarillo Police Department.

The system is made up of three screens that are able to move to create a 180-degree environment.

It offers around 800 different scenarios.

“The more we can look at ourselves and say, you know, this is what was wrong and this is what was right with that, and we can train ourselves on that, the better off we’re going to be and the better off the community is going to be,” said Corporal Jeb Hilton, the public information officer at the Amarillo Police Department.

The system allows the officer to interact with the scenario on the screen and can be modified for specific positions like SWAT, Narcotics Unit and more.

Most of the scenarios will present the officer with the decision whether to shoot or not shoot.

It also comes with a shooting range option so they can practice shooting in a safer environment while also saving money on ammunition.

“One thing it’s going to do is its going to save money and bullets are expensive right now, they are hard to come across so, this will be something we can continue to do to get top of the line training without having to spend the extra money on ammunition or trying to find ammunition,” said Hilton.

Johnson says they are looking at possibly giving citizens the opportunity to use the simulator as well.

“We would look at our citizens academy, our exploring program and then seeing how that goes, we may open it up to citizens in general to kind of put themselves in the scenarios we face and give them a better idea of what we face every day,” said Johnson.

The simulator will be placed in their officer training building at the city shooting range.

The City of Amarillo approved the new simulator.

They hope to have it by early this summer and will then start training officers right away.

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